Three points: Duke men's basketball can use size advantage to shut down Maryland Eastern Shore

Dereck Lively II runs across the floor against Ohio State.
Dereck Lively II runs across the floor against Ohio State.

Fresh off a commanding win against Iowa in New York, Duke returns home Saturday evening for a date with Maryland Eastern Shore. The Blue Zone is here with three keys to a win:

Size advantage 

Duke’s offense has thrived in the paint. Kyle Filipowski is nearly averaging a double-double, leading all Blue Devils with 14.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Mark Mitchell has also found paydirt, scoring 10.2 points per game on an impressive 52.4% mark from the field. Dereck Lively II and Dariq Whitehead are also growing more comfortable in their roles after early season injuries. Whitehead scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds in Duke’s victory against Iowa, while Lively contributed eight points last weekend against Boston College.

Facing 3-6 Maryland Eastern Shore, Duke is heavily favored due to its massive size advantage. 6-foot-7 center Kohen Thompson is the tallest player with minutes for the Hawks, followed by 6-foot-5 forward Nathaniel Pollard Jr. The duo will be tasked with covering the likes of 7-foot Filipowski, 7-foot-1 Lively and 6-foot-10 Ryan Young. The Blue Devils will have a considerable size advantage, anywhere from three to seven inches at all times. For Duke to take care of business Saturday night, it must exploit this obvious advantage and force the ball inside.

Stop the guards

Maryland Eastern Shore’s offense is led by guard play. Zion Styles, a 6-foot-3 senior, averages 11.1 points per game and nearly four rebounds on 40% shooting from the field. The biggest improvement to his game this season is his efficiency from behind the arc; he is currently hitting 47.6% of his 3-point attempts, compared to 30.2% last year. In the Hawks’ game against then-No. 5 Virginia, Styles scored 11 points on a 50% clip from 3-point territory. Maryland Eastern Shore has also gained an offensive boost with the return of guard Kevon Voyles from knee injury. The 6-foot-3 senior has averaged 11.3 points in his first three games, a sizable improvement from the 9.2 points per game he averaged last year. Voyles scored 12 points on 44.4% from the field in Tuesday’s loss to George Mason.

Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor will draw the assignment of guarding Styles and Voyles. Roach, the St. Paul VI product, currently holds a defensive rating of 95.9 and averages 1.6 steals per game, an improvement over his freshman and sophomore year numbers. If the Blue Devils can limit the production of the Maryland Eastern Shore guards, Duke will be able to effectively limit the offensive capabilities of the Hawks.

Second chance points

Entering Saturday’s matchup, Duke is top 30 nationally in most rebounding categories. The Blue Devils also lead the ACC in offensive rebounds, with 14.3 per game. Last time out, Duke outrebounded Iowa 45-35, holding the Hawkeyes to their lowest number of rebounds in a game this season. Maryland Eastern Shore, hamstrung by its size disadvantage, has struggled on the glass, only grabbing 31.6 total rebounds per game. Thus, the Blue Devils will have copious opportunities for second chance points. Cashing in on these opportunities will make the matchup a comfortable affair, as the Hawks are 1-6 in games where they have been outrebounded by their opponent.


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